Your Team USA Cheat Sheet: clip and save for insightful match-day cocktail chat!
Jozy Altidore (forward): Only 20 and some think potentially our best striker ever. And yet: only 20 and largely unproven. Also on his fourth club team already.
Clint Dempsey (forward/midfield): Grew up in a Texas trailer park. Flashy and offensive, but prone to going MIA for stretches of a game. An amateur rapper.
Landon Donovan (forward/midfield): The greatest player in American history. End stop.
Michael Bradley (midfield): The coach’s kid. Tireless, gritty, unselfish. The Dustin Pedroia of the pitch.
Oguchi Onyewu (sweeper): A monolith of a defender with Nigerian roots and an Abe Lincoln beard. Plays for AC Milan, probably the most prestigious assignment of any U.S. player.
Carlos Bocanegra (defense): Dependable pretty boy who can play either side on defense. However, had hernia surgery three weeks ago.
Tim Howard (defense): One of the world’s top goalies, and thus probably our best player. Has Tourette’s.
DaMarcus Beasley (midfield): Small, quick, very erratic. A year ago, no one thought he’d make the team. Now, he will probably start.
Maurice Edu (midfield): Solid, but unexciting midfielder. Plays with Beasley for Glasgow Rangers in Scotland. A leading contender for player you will refer to as “that guy.”
José Francisco Torres (midfield): Drafted out of high school to play in Mexico, his father’s homeland. Could have played for either country, but thankfully did not pull a Giuseppe Rossi.
Stuart Holden (midfield): Born in Scotland, raised in Houston. Just days after signing with Sunderland in England in 2003, he was jumped by thugs, who broke his eye socket. Just a month into his second stint in Europe this year, a Dutch defender broke his leg in an exhibition.
Jonathan Spector (defense): The rare American who started his pro career in Europe, with Manchester United’s youth team. His grandfather was Art Spector, the first player ever drafted by the Boston Celtics.
Jay Demerit (defense): The American dream, in cleats: moved to England in 2003 with a pocketful of cash and a dream of playing pro. Started in England’s ninth division, playing for $80 per week. Worked his way up to the top, and now a regular in defense for Watford and the U.S. team.
Jonathan Bornstein: Easily the most hated player among U.S. fans. Ironically, an icon in Honduras for his extra-time goal that eliminated Costa Rica from qualifying, thus enabling Honduras to go through.
Edson Buddle: The leading scorer in MLS plays with Donovan in L.A., and as recently as a month ago wasn’t even in consideration for the team. But Bradley gave him a shot and he did not disappoint, as witnessed by his two goals versus Australia last week. Fun fact: Edson was Pele’s first name.
Herculez Gomez: The player with the coolest name on the team was, like Buddle, not even a glimmer in Bradley’s eye a month ago. Now he’s our super-sub, the guy you bring in when you need a goal badly.
Clarence Goodson: That I forgot to include him on the first draft of this speaks volumes. That he might actually start in the center of our defense is terrifying. I guess he’s tall. And is battle hardened from the trenches of the Norwegian league. Also, there is no better surname on Father’s Day.
Ricardo Clark: The rare guy who seemed to be better when he played in MLS. Now on a team in Germany’s bundesliga, which is a great league, but looking shaky when he plays, which is unfortunately too often.
Benny Feilhaber: Born in Brazil but raised in Westchester, Benny is one of two Jewish players on the squad (along with Jonathan Bornstein, in case you couldn’t figure it out). He’s also Carlos Bocanegra’s most serious rival for handsomest guy in stars and stripes.
Robbie Findley: Known for his speed, and ability to create scoring chances, if not his skill in actually getting the ball in the net. Plays in MLS, for Real Salt Lake. His arrival in Utah doubled the state’s African American population.*
Steve Cherundolo: One of three players to be making his third World Cup appearance, Cherundolo plays for Hanover 96 in the German bundesliga and shares a hometown with Cheap Trick (Rockford, IL, though he mostly grew up in Southern California). He plays right back for the U.S. and is arguably our most dependable defender, often ranging forward to make crosses in the attack.
*perhaps not true